Races should be to cure cancer, to end world hunger, to stop bullying, to finding world peace. A marathon should be for health and for charity. So why are we running so fast that most of us only have fumes left in our tanks? Is burning the midnight oil really so important unless it is for any of the above reasons?
In a documentary called “Happy”, I learned about the word “karoshi” used in Japan. It means “death by work”. I know it seems ironic to learn about karoshi in a movie called Happy, but there’s an excellent point.
It seems many people in Japan are literally working themselves to death. There are even concerts with choirs specifically to address the victims and families of karoshi. The documentary showed a young man returning from yet another business trip and his 3-year old daughter ecstatic when he walked through the door although she had no idea who he was. She will never know because he became a victim of karoshi.
Are we running away from the things that are really important? Maybe employers should ask themselves the question and as an employee, do we have the courage to stop running? The tortoise had the courage to win the race without losing sight of the importance of the pursuit. And he probably stopped and smelled a few roses along the way. We can do the same.
It is up to each of us to decide which races are vital and which we can leave behind. And if you encounter the hare, hand him a rose as he races by. Maybe, just maybe he will slow down long enough to smell the splendor and heed the message.